A plague of platitudes

And now, as the masks come off, a new set of plague-arisms besets us!


By now, many people have noticed the pestilence of advertising capitalizing on the pandemic. Apparently, marketers have a very limited number of platitudes available. If the constant repetition weren’t annoying enough, one in particular has been really pestering me.

“…these unprecedented times…” Get a dictionary, folks! Unprecedentedmeans “never happened before.” Get a history book! This is not the first pandemic. In recent history, the “Spanish flu” started in Europe in 1918, was originally reported by Spanish journalists, and followed U.S. soldiers home. There was “Asian flu” in the late ’50s, H3N2 in the late ’60s, and remember HIV/AIDS? Using the word “unprecedented” makes me angry because it minimizes the reality of previous pandemics.

I would like to say that our advertisers’ use of Covid19 to promote themselves is unprecedented. Unfortunately, it also happened with the Spanish flu, with ads touting everything from soap to massage to cure the…

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